signal logo

Signal is a popular privacy-focused, encrypted messaging app. It’s an alternative to WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and others. There’s a lot to like about the app, and if you make the switch, it can even replace your SMS app.

Like its competitors, Signal is mainly used for instant messaging other people who use the app. However, the Android app has an extra feature: It can be set as your device’s default SMS messaging app. Unfortunately, the functionality isn’t available on iPhone.

RELATED: What Is Signal, and Why Is Everyone Using It?

Not only will you be able to communicate with your Signal contacts, but you’ll also be able to send and receive text messages with your phone number. All of your conversations can be in one place. Let’s do it.

Warning: SMS messages sent through Signal are “insecure,” meaning they’re not encrypted like messages between Signal users.

First, open the Signal app on your Android device. Next, tap the three-dot menu icon in the top-right corner of the app.

Select “Settings” from the menu.

select settings

Tap “Chats” in the Settings menu.

Tap "Chats."

Next, tap “SMS and MMS” at the top of the screen.

Tap "SMS and MMS."

Then tap “Use as default SMS app.”

Tap "Use as default SMS app."

A pop-up window will ask you to choose your default SMS app. Select “Signal” and tap “Set as Default.”

choose Signal as default sms app

That’s it. Sending an SMS message is the same as sending a Signal message. Contacts not using Signal will appear with an SMS label.

Signal vs Non-Signal contact

If for whatever reason you would like to send an SMS to a Signal contact, you can do that, too. Start by typing a message like you normally would.

enter a message

This time, instead of tapping the send button, tap it and hold.

tap and hold send button

Now you have the option to switch to “Insecure SMS.” As previously mentioned, SMS messages are not encrypted like Signal messages.

send as SMS

The send button will now be gray with an unlock icon. Tap it to send the SMS message.

send as SMS

You’re all set! Now you can keep all of your conversations, whether they’re over Signal or SMS, in one place. Keep in mind that you will not be able to access SMS through the Signal Desktop app.

RELATED: The 5 Best Alternatives to WhatsApp

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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